By: Samuel Midkiff
Itâ€™s a plague that has devastated the American political scene, and one that is creeping into ourÂ federal and provincial politics: hyper-partisanship.
Itâ€™s the political disease in which politicians and political supporters will fervently toe andÂ support the party line simply because it is the party line. Anything otherwise appears to resultÂ in the expulsion from your political party.
It is especially chronic in the United States, and as an American citizen it is incredibly depressingÂ to hear arguments from both the blue and red sides arguing that their opponents are wrongÂ simply because theyâ€™re on the opposing side. It’s why I couldnâ€™t vote for Hillary Clinton, becauseÂ her whole platform was basically, â€œWell, Iâ€™m not Donald Trump!â€
You could also say youâ€™re not a snake or a bison. That argument would hold greater sway overÂ the centrist voters than the partisan argument does. In that case, youâ€™re pointing outÂ something obvious. In politics, youâ€™re far more similar to your opponent than otherwise.
Canada has avoided the toxic effect of hyper-partisanship for a long time, but itâ€™s slowlyÂ creeping into our politics.
Let’s look at the federal scene. The Liberal and Conservative dialogue has been dominated byÂ mudslinging across the Parliamentary floor, with conservatives eager to point out all of theÂ sitting Liberal governmentâ€™s flaws while the federal Liberals continue to fall back on theÂ incredibly lame excuse of â€œwell, the previous government did worse!â€ Okay, whatever, youÂ have a super-majority so why are you not pursuing your election promises such as electoral reform,Â infrastructure bank, the list goes on.
The same goes for provincial politics. I grew up in Alberta and I cannot stand watching theÂ provincial legislature. Debate in Edmonton is dominated by partisan mudslinging with no moreÂ actual political debate. And, tragically, PEI is falling into this same trap.
Jamie Larkin was recently â€œexpelledâ€ (i.e. partisan pressure to leave the party) from the GreenÂ Party because he supported a politician who didnâ€™t have ties to the Greens. The Liberals, too,Â have shown themselves to be pawns of the federal Liberal party as they have stayed somewhatÂ silent on the Liberal carbon tax, a tax that would disproportionately affect Islanders more soÂ than Quebecers or Ontarians (a federal investigation revealed that Quebec residents wouldÂ suffer the least under the federal carbon tax while Atlantic Canada would suffer the most).
We need to vote according to our political beliefs, not along partisan lines. The political partiesÂ serve their partisan interests first. Independent voters need to make their voice heard more ifÂ we are to gain a truly representative government, both federally and provincially.
This article belongs to The Cadreâ€™s opinion section. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Cadre.